31 movies to watch in October: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Photo: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.. Image Courtesy Shudder
Photo: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.. Image Courtesy Shudder /

Here’s a little hint about day 24 of 31 movies to watch in October: “Who will survive and what will be left of them?” If you knew this was the tagline for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, give yourself a brownie point.

Released in October of 1974, Tobe Hooper’s most famous film was produced for less than $140,000 and is now one of the best-known horror films in existence. Though I have tried to mainly stick with lesser-known films for this list, I just had to include The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

Due to the limited budget he was given, Hooper cast mostly unknown actors and shot seven days a week so that he could finish filming more quickly. He also tried to avoid a then-dreaded R rating by asking the MPAA  questions about specific scenes. For example, he asked them how he could hang a girl on a meat hook and still get a PG rating. It was all for naught, as the film ultimately ended up with an R rating.

Despite the film’s reputation, it was not really that bloody, especially when compared to R-rated horror movies now. It was also, despite the advertised claims, not really a true story. While Hooper studied notorious killer Ed Gein as reference, the events in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre were fictional.

Though it’s doubtful there are too many horror fans who don’t know the story, I’ll do a quick and dirty synopsis. A van full of friends pick up a weird hitchhiker, who they end up dumping after he gets a little psycho on them. When they start to run low on gas, they stop at an isolated house for help, and – let’s just say they end up regretting that decision.

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A family of inbred cannibals inhabit the house, and butcher our friends one by one, until we are left with only a Final Girl. It really is a nightmarish movie, and it’s one of those films that feels gritty and real, much like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Though there are a number of sequels, and even a remake, there is nothing quite like the original.

Despite the negative publicity about the violence contained in the film, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was a financial success, earning over $30 million in 1974. To put that in perspective, that’s roughly equivalent to $150 million today.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre should be considered essential viewing for any fan of horror, and it can be streamed on a number of platforms, including Amazon Prime and Shudder.

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Is The Texas Chain Saw Massacre one of your must-see movies for October? Let us know what you think of it in the comments section.